WAYNE COUNTY — According to the Parkinson's Foundation, there are almost one million Americans and ten million people across the globe who are affected by Parkinson's Disease (PD), a neurodegenerative disorder targeting the brain's dopamine producers in a certain area.
Each year, around 60,000 new cases of PD are diagnosed, most often in adults over 60 years old and more likely in males than in females.
Though rare, PD can affect individuals younger than 50 years old.
While the cause for most cases is yet unknown, and while there is still no known cure for PD, fundraising efforts to support research into such continues to be a focus for the Pocono Fox Trot which has raised $157,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation since 2015 through its annual 5k walk/run.
This year's Fox Trot is scheduled for Saturday, June 15 at the Ann Street Park in Milford. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m.
“Our goal this year is to raise $70,000,” stated Rolland Grote, Pocono Fox Trot cofounder in a meeting with the Wayne County Commissioners on Thursday, April 25.
Himself diagnosed with PD, Grote noted the Michael J. Fox Foundation's current research interests center on identifying biomarkers which may indicate PD and studies into the efficacy of medicinal marijuana.
“There's a lot of new things coming up that we have hope that it's gonna be a fix to a lot of the symptoms,” said Grote. “And hopefully one of these days, we'll find a cure.”
Also diagnosed with Parkinson's, Eric Linde noted raising awareness is key in the mission to inform the public, find treatments and hopefully cure PD.
There are “... a lot of people walking around out there with Parkinson's who don't know it,” said Linde. “The earlier you start…treatment, the better the outcome.”
According to the Parkinson's Foundation, symptoms of Parkinson's present as a tremor in one's hands, a slowness of movement, rigid limbs and issues with one's gait or balance.
Other symptoms not related to physical movement include “apathy, depression, constipation, sleep behavior disorders, loss of sense of smell and cognitive impairment,” states information material on the Parkinson's Foundation website.
Treatment for PD can include certain medicines, physical therapy, surgery and lifestyle changes to include more rest and exercise.
“Exercise is the key to living with it sensibly,” said Grote, noting he manages his symptoms through sports and activities, and a Parkinson's Spin Class at the Wayne County YMCA.
Linde added his managing efforts includes things such as physical therapy and pilates.
Working on a computer regularly, Linde explained, “... running the mouse with my right hand is good therapy too because my right arm is getting retrained. As I walk down the street now my right arm is back swinging.”
Within the last year, local PD patients and care-partners formed the 501(c)(3) Tri-State Parkinson's Project, “and the reason we did that is so we can raise money to do education, exercise and scholarships, where we couldn't do that under the Michael J. Fox umbrella,” said Grote.
Hoping to raise awareness for PD, the Wayne County Commissioners issued a proclamation declaring April to be Parkinson's Awareness Month in Wayne County.
“We encourage all individuals to support the efforts to raise money for Parkinson's research and to help raise awareness of Parkinson's disease,” states the proclamation.
More information about Parkinson's Disease is available online at www.parkinsons.org.